I am pleased to announce that the Government has given first pass approval for AIR 7000 Phase 2 – a A$4 billion project for Defence to acquire a manned Maritime Patrol and Response Aircraft (MPRA).
The manned MPRA, in conjunction with the Multi-mission Unmanned Aerial System being acquired by Defence under AIR 7000 Phase 1, will replace the capability currently provided by the AP-3C Orion.
The AP-3C Orion is planned to be retired in 2018 after over 30 years of service.
First pass approval has been granted to allow Defence to commence formal negotiations with the United States Navy (USN) to participate in the cooperative development of the P-8A Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA).
Following an exhaustive examination of available options, the USN chose the Boeing Company to develop the P-8A MMA based on its 737 commercial aircraft. The P-8A MMA offers a modern, highly reliable commercially-proven airframe with the latest maritime surveillance and attack capabilities.
The P-8A will be equipped with modern Anti-Submarine Warfare, Anti-Surface Warfare and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance sensors that have evolved from proven systems. The P-8A will be capable of broad-area, maritime, littoral and limited overland operations.
Through its participation in the proposed cooperative development of the MMA, Defence will assist in providing opportunities for Australian industry as well as gain an ability to positively influence development of the MMA Program.